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Facebook is taking action to stop employers from requesting access to potential employees Facebook accounts.

Should this be Facebook's responsibility or the employers responsibility?
 
“We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges.”

- Erin Egan, Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer

Was this statement the right step for Facebook to take?
Facebook will fight to stop employers from requesting access to their potential employees' otherwise private accounts.
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101 comments
 
facebook's. because it can enforce it.

people will function within the limitation of the system they operate in.
 
Its good that Facebook is being proactive, but the responsibility should lie with the employer or employee or potential employee.
 
People who care about privacy still use Facebook?

Sure, I believe you. Seems very very legitimate.
 
I have a handful of short, simple answers for anyone who demands my login information.

None of them polite or well-meaning.
 
On this front, Facebook is doing the right thing. Although, they probably infringe on a lot of the privacy issues themselves. But at least they are standing up to protect an individual's free will and right against discrimination. For that kudos to them.
 
this is wild, there is no way i would give an employer my log in credentials. and i think it is criminal that an employer would use a prospective employee's desperation like this.
 
It's the user's responsibility according to the TOS, and it's wise of Facebook to realize that the user is between a rock and a hard place when an employer makes this demand, and intervene.
 
Facebook can't do a thing if the prospect gives up their password. No way to know who's using it, or keep them out.
 
My default settings are that nothing can be seen on my wall unless you're a friend, and photos of otherwise public events still require at least "friends of friends". Nothing that I post is listed as "public". Therefore, it's absurd that any potential employer should think that they have a right to view that which I have explicitly set in my account as not being for public view.
 
The employers mentioned in the MSNBC article have already set the precedent that employers will not take the responsibility, because nobody has told them they couldn't.
The people who surrendered their passwords have already set the precedent that potential employees (/athletes/what have you) will also not take the responsibility of telling the employer "this is an unfair infringement of my right to privacy" because it's more important to get the job than stand by your principles.
So, there are two choices: either Facebook -- Gods help me for having to type this -- becomes the voice of principle and fairness and says "you can't do this with our product," or it will become standard business practice.
 
Providers job pure and simple (FB, G+, what ever). Its the social networking version of the Hippocratic oath or the vows of a priest. I dont actually like it that way but I think sometimes we just have to start trusting a little. That being said...I would hate to be any web presence that fucked over the trust of its users. The shit storm that would come of that is unimaginable.
 
I have to wonder what Mark Zuckerberg's take on this is, given that he does not believe in privacy.
 
It may not be Facebook's responsibility, but it is in their best interest. They want lots of people spending lots of time on their service, and lots of data to mine -- scaring people away from such behavior is "bad."
 
I guess it's not illegal if the person 'volunteers' the information when asked, which isn't to say it shouldn't be illegal to ask in the first place.

Perhaps a name & shame campaign of places that have demanded this information might go some way to discouraging the practice?
 
+Rich Koning likely not the same over here in UK, it probably would be illegal to request that information, HR laws are fairly tight here. You'd still expect them to Google you and check your FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc profiles & posts, though.
 
It is illegal. Facebook has information on it that employers cannot ask (marital status, children, etc) during an interview process. But many people post that information publicly.

So let's say a woman was considered for a position but the employer wanted to know if she was planning on getting pregnant in the next year. They can't ask that. But her facebook wall might give it away.

I think there are lawsuits just waiting to happen here. Find the right company, the right plaintiff...it'll blow up in someone's face. This is just HR trying to save money and time.
 
Why doesn't Facebook create a new Facebook mockup. User could give employer access tho this face page and if & only if you allow access to enter real page. No more this user doesn't share personal info with.....
 
Am I the only one that thinks asking for access to an employees Facebook page is akin to asking to see their diary, or listen in on private phone calls with their friends after hours?

Granted, I used the little delete my wall tool a while back and wiped my page, but still, what I do on a private login site with my friends is my business not my employers.
 
But proving that an applicant was discriminated against on that basis is going to be hard unless someone fesses up to it - not like there'll be a paper trail anywhere.

A good financially damaging test case would be a fine deterrent to others considering the practise, though.
 
Is this really happening?

"The announcement follows reports that potential employers have pushed for access to applicants accounts — either asking applicants for their usernames and passwords or asking them to log into their accounts during an interview."
 
Would have left a comment on the original article, but you seem to require me to use Twitter or Facebook to leave comments, neither of which I am inclined to do (I don't want you posting Tweets for me, for instance).
 
I think that facebook should prevent the use by employers because that's invasion of privacy.
 
I think a one-time check of your Facebook profile would be ok with the employee logging in while potential employer is sitting there, but would never expect to give anyone to give passwords for long-term access. There has to be a privacy law to prevent employers from getting access to personal accounts. Will they ask for your bank account passwords next?
 
+Stephan Romeo You can do that yourself... Get some friends together, create alter egos and work it like a professional grouping. You might be onto something.
 
I happen to be looking for a job right now. I would not give anyone access to my private life. If we continue to give up our rights in exchange for a paycheck we are slaves.
 
Is it their responsibility? No. So, should they? No. I think it's a great thing to do, and it's nice that a company would offer that kind of protection.
 
+Liz H Kelly There is nothing in my private life that my employer needs to see unless the person wanting to see it is a friend. If HR wanted to look at my facebook page while I was there or not, the answer would be 'What Facebook Page"? "What is Facebook?"
 
It is slowly becoming a thing of the past and the erosion of privacy but physically and online. Facebook should definitely prevent potential employers from gaining access to potential employee private information. Whether we agree or not, Facebook should be covered by the privacy act. We give up enough as it is. And people should be cognizant of their behavior online also and responsible. Don't go to a party and then have pictures of your drunken self posted online. Nothing is hidden anymore that cannot be retrieved especially when employers can use hackers to access your information.
 
At least they're making a stand. This is good news. Anybody that would willingly give up their credentials is a fool
 
It's good that Facebook takes a stand against privacy invasion. Requesting passwords is not okay. That said, employers obviously have a right to look at the information that we make available by putting it online. Be responsible when posting. You can't take it back.
 
+Robert Stauss That would only apply if you do not have any privacy settings up. For me, you cannot search for me by name or email address on FB nor can you view my posts unless you are my friend, so in my case, they don't have the right.
 
I 2nd that Howard with a little spin. Consider this: As an American I know I was tagged coming out of the chute. My SS# is my bar code for dealing with a variety of organizations. They can all kindly go fuck themselves if they want to know what I did last night. A guy on a street corner can do the same. Whats pretty disconcerting is here is that Google may actually know what I did last night and I know I didnt send them a memo.
 
+Duce Clark Both Fb and G+ know what you did last night if you checked in anywhere, were tagged in a photo with someone who checked in anywhere, surfed the web through a search or didn't use the log out of facebook script to turn off cross site url tracking... But so what? for the most part all that makes your experience on those sites better. Better targeted advertising, better search results...
But, and there is always a but...
How does my employer knowing what I did last night make my day at work better? Unless my boss is going to bring me a couple of Asprin and turn down the lights for my cubicle, it isn't.
 
Rare are the times I find myself on FBs side.
Speaking of which, are you all planning to allow g+ log-in for comments there?
 
I am glad Facebook is taking a stand and employers should never access to your personal password for anything especially when making hiring decisions based on that to not hire you and still could have access to your personal profile. HR people should never have that much power over prospective employees.
 
Sadly most everyone is afraid of losing their job so it's modern day slavery. People have so much debt and need a job desperately. It's time to take your power back. I do IT contracting and never take an employee position anymore. Read 'Live Rich' by Stephen Pollan to understand the way things work out there.
 
WOW! This is huge news! Judging by their recent privacy scandals, I don't think anyone knows that Facebook has a Chief Privacy Officer.
 
How about this idea. you give your employer a special password and they only see really nice clean things about you when they login.
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I don't have a FaceBook but here's my Google+ password... Huh? My two step verification code you say? Good luck... HAH!
 
Good move Facebook. This is a horrible practice.
 
+Will Kriski How about getting the request in writing on headed paper then scanning it and putting it on your FB wall for all to see, including the company...
 
+Gary Martin : True you can't expects privacy on social media but that is were employers can't make hiring decisions because it is being "social" outside of your job. Companies need to connect with their consumers on social platforms and so going around asking for prospective employees Facebook passwords beats the purpose of engaging your consumers/audience.
 
+Gary Martin There's a difference between allowing people to look in your front window and giving them the keys to the castle...
 
Totally agree with this. It's what Google would and have done.
 
It's about being an empowered worker. If an employer asks for this in an interview, imagine what other abuses will take place once you start working for them. I never put myself in a position where an employer would even think to ask this, luckily I never take employee positions.
 
Nothing kills a buzz like your employer wanting Facebook access. That may effect Facebook popularity. Or Facebook will have to give up on phone verification because people are going to need more than one account.
 
If a potential employer saw my Facebook posts, they would probably think I was friendly, funny and well-liked. They would want to hire me. But I would never work for a company that asked for my password.
 
Social, open internet forum equals freedom of speech!!!
 
i think employers have no right to snoop into job seekers' facebook.
mike c
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for what ever it is worth, if you think you are likely to face this question: scrub all your accounts as deeply as you can; disable/remove as much of Google's, Yahoo's and Bing's history and tracking as you can (difficult I know); and post a notice on your Facebook account that it is there solely to give prying employers something to look at as they illegally demand to invade your privacy under the inferred threat of not getting the job if the reviewer(s) don't like something on your private pages.

or do what I do and severely limit what can be associated to your actual name/identifying information. Then create pseudonym pages to give to your employers.

I am sure that would violate all sorts of TOS demands by the big data cache's I frankly don't care as I don't particularly like the idea that people are making money selling my personal information without an explicit request to me for each sale and a profit share on their earnings.

IMO all MARKETING should be opt-in only and all personal data, including government databases, should be off limits to those "selling" information.

I am intelligent enough to know what I want, when I want it, what price I will pay and whom I will buy from. I don't need some invisible, faceless, soulless entity forcing their marketing garbage on me and making a profit doing so.
 
I'll trade my FB account info for the employer's bank account info. If they get to know what I'm up to, I get to know if they can afford to pay me.
mike c
 
+Howard Suissa I gather you don't mind people "targeting" you based on personal information, that is great for you. I however don't want my "experience enhanced", don't want to be "targeted" and don't particularly like being tracked. I am a law abiding citizen of the U.S. and don't appreciate Government or CORPORATE intrusion into my personal information.

I am not a Luddite nor am I conspiracy nut. I am just a person with a mind, life, and experience who believes that if I want to share those details with YOU (broad sense) I will tell you face to face. Otherwise MYOB!

OPT IN ALL THE WAY!
mike c
 
+Duce Clark Thanks, I gather we share similar points of view. and I am with you, I did not send them a Memo to track me and certainly did not issue a Press Release about my activities last night, so why do "they" get to make money tracking me? very much like stalking since I (we) have no real way out except as I described above.
 
+Gary Martin: Just pointing out that employers shouldn't make hiring decision whether they can have access to your Facebook password. It sounds that HR doesn't know how to hire the right people for jobs. Guess expectation goes both ways!!
mike c
 
+Gary Kevorkian Me TOO! but I also want a signed authorization to write checks on their accounts too LOL
 
Yep god knows where we are heading if they let this happen and im saying this after posting on thumbs about my work...kinda think that baby is gonna come back like a dodgy kebab
 
My Boss can have my password to my Facebook as soon as i get his daughters personal diary to print and publish online. Sounds fair to me.
 
On reality this is entirely a troll post. There is no way in living hell in western society that a company could expect to be granted login info for someone's personal page. End of. So kinda pointless debating it.
 
Shouldnt be asking for passwords in the first place
 
Nobody should be stupid enough to work for a company that would ask for this.
 
An employer should not have the right to have access to an employees house, or personal papers and photographs at home, so why have access to a virtual version?
 
I'm really suprised about this buzz. Can anyone provide the name of a major employer that made this request? While I am not a HR person I thought that there were questions that were illegal to ask in an interview .... So I would think those kind of privacy boundaries would extend to social media activity. Can an HR person chime in on this matter?
 
Maybe we are heading to a modern slavery era where employers fatten their paycheck more than they care about people works and fucking stupid for CEO to make that kind of decisions!!!
 
I think it's deplorable that companies are doing this. I'm glad that Facebook is taking action and putting a stop to it.
David W
 
Funny because there's no ad revenue associated with it, otherwise Facebook would be all for it. This is a huge privacy violation and from an HR perspective could get an employer sued. Your account belongs to you. Not your future boss. Or Facebook. Don't give your password to anyone.
 
Revenue or not earning revenue still the decision is upto the prospective employees. Companies crying foul on passwords because don't have power to begin with.
 
Some companies could have power on making false assumptions on what you post "social networking time" and since governments are looking for keywords to profiling you as well!!
 
That a CEO question to answer who make decisions like that!!!
 
Majority company HR department are women (same as PR) and tend to focus more likely to whether they like the person than a qualified person for the jobs. Facebook access give them a window!!!
 
But I heard companies are checking Facebook profiles to see of theres something dodgy so kinda freaky and gross but...
 
It is all freaking snooping around as if got nothing better to do to begin with:(
 
Reason to have this kind discussion is so media professional could write articles based on your comments/ideas and call it they have jobs!!!
 
Deplorable Staff and CEO!!! Networking associate from a get go and decided to play game with time and money. Disgusting isn't on image but on behavior!!!
 
Mashable staff enjoying laughing on other people expenses and money that is why CEO makes poor decisions..
 
This is a chance to say screw what Mashable represents!!!
 
Oh forgot even at conferences comments were made bluntly through few Mashable blog partners. Heard it loud and clear but acted dumb to that kind of unprofessionalism!! 
 
Just because you have friends/associate in high places doesn't mean you have a firm say in other people lives and choices as have done in the past!!
 
If Facebook was serious about it they would lobby to make it a law that you can't ask.
 
I was surprised Facebook spoke up at all (even belatedly).
 
could troll the boss by giving the pw (but this breaches terms 4.8), but then getting your phone out ready to open facebook's email and hit the security link to cut off access
 
employers should not need that infor . their just wrong , its invasion of personal space . and unless you using fb at work its none of their concern, some people can not keep their nose out of others lives, KEEP OUT !!!!!!
 
Good way to determine who you don't want to work for.
 
How can employers have the right to ask for something like that?
Next thing you know, it's your online banking log-in, you give them your passport, ID, wallet, why not just hand over your car & house keys... oh and please take my wife and kids too... ridiculous.
 
just say no ! employers you have no right ,and we have the right to say NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
It just seems like it's employers who are too cheap to run a background check and/or employers who don't want to hire certain types of protected classes, but found a loophole. Now they can say "oh, it's not because you're gay/black/disabled/mormon/HIV+, it's because you 'liked' certain things that our algorithm didn't like."
 
I find it funny how employers request Facebook passwords of employees or potential employees, but while employed by them, you are not allowed to visit Facebook during your hours of employment, something about it not being "work related"... Go Figure!
 
Yes, I respect Facebook for strongly saying that this is an invasion of privacy. Perspective employers have no right to visit your home either.
 
hi i work in a wearhouse as a chife security officer onder the federal goverment and u
 
I agree, like MK-Micheal Kors says... That is a monstrosity! Is that how that's spelled? Lol, People need to get a life, like the ppl who dont have time for social networking or chating. Thats is your business and freedom as an american here. Now as for other continents-I dont know how that works. I want a snow cone now=-)
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